Sustainability Report 2013: Q&A with Jennifer Miller
Sustainability Report 2013: Q&A with Jennifer Miller
CAMPAIGN: Sustainability Report 2013
In a question and answer format, she discussed highlights of 2013 performance and the importance of sustainable consumption principles as applied to Sappi's operations and products.
1. This has clearly been a year of transition for Sappi. Could you share a few highlights and what you see on the horizon for 2014?
What we accomplished in 2013 lays the foundation for transformative growth in 2014 and beyond. With major capital investments in each of our three businesses behind us, we now have the platform to grow and prosper in very different end-uses: graphic communications, textiles, and textured surfaces. The geographic, customer and technology diversification we enjoy under the Sappi umbrella will be a source of strength, and will provide opportunities for cross-business collaboration and insight.
At the root of any sustainable business strategy are two fundamental questions: what will my customers be demanding next year and the years after? What decisions should we be making now to insure that we can meet those needs? For our dissolving pulp and release paper businesses the answers revolve around product differentiation; new patterns for release and higher purity cellulose for end-uses beyond textiles.
For graphic paper, it is perhaps more about service differentiation, insuring that we have a supply chain that is increasingly nimble and efficient. This includes reducing waste and redundancy in how our product gets to market, and cutting lead times drastically. Our customers are smart consumers, meaning they don’t want to pay for costs in production or delivery that don’t create value for them. And they certainly don’t want to receive product too late or too early. We need to be even more responsive in meeting those expectations.
2. Could you elaborate more on “smart consumption” and what that means to your organization?
We have been internally focused on “smart consumption” for many years now. We aim to make and deliver our products with no waste in energy, water, pulp or any other raw material. We look for ways to get our product to our customers with no excess handling or delivery activity. In our supplier relationships we seek partners that help us drive down “cost in use” and improve yield—all of which means we are much more efficient consumers of raw materials. We recognize that the same principles are important to our merchant, printer and end-user customers. We must work with them so that they can be more efficient consumers of our product, which often means lower paper consumption per job.
3. What are some examples of “smart consumption” of coated paper?
It starts with matching the purpose of the communication to the chosen media. Market research and the growing field of neuromarketing indicate that people react differently to the tactile experience of print than to electronic communication. Print is better at establishing an emotional connection and recall. So if your aim is mere transmission of data or account information, there may be more efficient ways of communicating that than paper. Use of electronic media might be the “smart” choice. But if your aim is to cut through the clutter of email bombardment, and build your brand through a “lean back” experience—then a well designed, beautifully photographed, brilliantly printed piece on great paper is the smart choice.
Our customers are already engaging in so many forms of smart consumption. They use electronic media for billing but still invest in high quality direct mail to acquire new customers. They are using sophisticated list management to be much more targeted in direct mail campaigns, often using variable content or versioning to insure the brochure’s relevance to the targeted customers. Sometimes catalogs are designed with fewer pages, but printed on higher quality paper, to get attention in the mailbox and then to drive the consumer to the internet for ordering detail. With good direct marketing strategies, the percentage of savings in targeted mailings can be 20–30%, while also delivering a higher response rate than mass-mailings. List management software also helps prevent error, remove duplicate addresses and eliminate waste.
All of these activities lead to the smarter use of paper— which we applaud! We recognize that print jobs will continue to get smaller, more highly versioned, and more targeted, to eliminate waste. We support this trend and are working hard to develop better ways of servicing these more complex jobs better, at lower costs.
4. What is Sappi doing to encourage the smarter use of paper?
Two of our recent advertising campaigns focus on educating our customers on how to use print more effectively, for a higher impact, and less wastefully. Our piece “Print &” celebrates how print, when combined with alternative media in an integrated campaign, drives higher return, higher impact, and better results. “Act Now” provides a primer on how to design and execute effective direct mail campaigns, and includes helpful tips on list management and list hygiene.
5. How can sustainable consumption concepts be applied in Sappi’s other business units?
Sappi’s release papers are part of a manufacturing process where materials are used to impart texture on coated fabrics and decorative laminates and are then re-wound and re-used over and over again. Our technology group is constantly working to improve functionality for re-use. For example, customers producing split leather footwear using one of our Ultracast grades have seen as much as a 300% improvement in re-use as a result of product redesigns.
In our Specialised Cellulose business, we are focusing on efficient global delivery systems, and reduction in internal waste as we gain experience in this new manufacturing process. Baselines for two of our five year goals, the raw material waste goal and the energy efficiency goal, have been specifically reset this year to help drive waste and cost out of the dissolving pulp process, similar to our other businesses.
6. Beyond Sappi’s gates, what additional opportunities do you see for improved efficiency and smarter consumption in our industry?
We live in a culture of on-demand customer service, where products show up at your doorstep with the click of a button. To meet this demand, there is an increased awareness of reducing waste throughout the product life cycle, including more organized and efficient logistics. Shipping with full trucks, full rail cars and eliminating the unnecessary use of warehouses whenever possible is a top priority.
There is still more we can do in reducing redundancies for more cost effective and sustainable solutions. Sappi is committed to selecting suppliers who share our values and show transparency in environmental reporting and participate in initiatives like the Carbon Disclosure Project or EPA’s Smartway® Transport partnership. Through responsible selection of suppliers and efficient logistics, we can help influence companies along the value chain to adopt more sustainable practices.
Read the full Sappi Sustainability Report 2013 by downloading an online PDF version directly from our website here or for more on sustainability, check out our eQ microsite at: http://www.na.sappi.com/eQ/index.html